228
228

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, SANTA BARBARA

Georges Rouault
LE PIERROT SAGE
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 545,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
228

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, SANTA BARBARA

Georges Rouault
LE PIERROT SAGE
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 545,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Georges Rouault
1871 - 1958
LE PIERROT SAGE
Signed G Rouault (center right); titled Pierrot sage (on the stretcher)
Oil on paper mounted on canvas
29 1/2 by 22 in.
74.9 by 55.9 cm
Painted in 1943.
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Provenance

Galerie Louis Carré, Paris
Rita K. Hillman, New York (acquired from the above in November 1949 and sold by the estate: Christie's, New York, November 5, 2008, lot 17)
Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., 1949
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Georges Rouault, 1952, no. 7, illustrated in the catalogue
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts & The Hague, Municipal Museum, Georges Rouault, Rétrospective, 1952, no. 51, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; The Cleveland Museum of Art & Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rouault, retrospective exhibition, 1953, n.n.
New York University, The Grey Art Gallery, Georges Rouault, 1981, n.n.

Literature

Cahiers d'Art, 1940-1944, nos. 15-19, illustrated p. 152
Lionello Venturi, Georges Rouault, Paris, 1948, illustrated pl. 170
H.W. Janson & Dora J. Janson, The Story of Painting for Young People, New York, 1952, no. 123, illustrated in color p. 147
"Retrospective Exhibition: Rouault," in Los Angeles County Museum Bulletin of the Art Division, Summer 1953, vol. 5, no. 3, p. 31
Eleanor C. Munro, Golden Encyclopedia of Art, New York, 1961, illustrated in color p. 251
Pierre Courthion, Georges Rouault, New York, 1962, p. 469, no. 442, illustrated p. 445
Bernard Dorival & Isabelle Rouault, Rouault, L'oeuvre peint, vol. II, Monte-Carlo, 1988, no. 2229, illustrated p. 212
Emily Braun, Manet to Matisse, The Hillman Family Collection, Seattle & London, 1994, no. 62, illustrated in color p. 165

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1943, Le Pierrot sage originates from one of Rouault's most expressive and beloved series. His interest in the world of the circus found its greatest outlet in this important period when Ambroise Vollard had commissioned him to make etchings and woodcuts for the book Cirque de l'étoile filante, published in 1938. These depictions were based on his own childhood memories of the circus, as he remembered them, "Acrobats and horsewomen, sparkling or passive clowns, tightrope walkers and freaks, and my friends, color and harmony, since my earliest childhood I have been in love with you" (quoted in Bernard Dorival & Isabelle Rouault, op. cit., p. 153). Rouault combats the potential frivolity of the subject with a Cloisonnist style in which the figures and objects are delineated with black outlines. Evoking the imagery of stained glass imbues the subject with a more profound and spiritual depth. Unlike other artists who employed Cloisonnist techniques, however, Rouault employs boundless expressionistic brushstrokes that deconstruct forms and bring his subject to the edge of abstraction.

Rouault was particularly drawn to the clowns and their expressive potential as subjects for portraiture. These nomadic entertainers represented freedom and naiveté, and were for Rouault a release from his focus on the darker images of life. His series of clown portraits is marked by an emotional immediacy that is unique both within his oeuvre and the spectrum of modern art.  Lionello Venturi writes, "When he paints clowns, however, the grotesque becomes amiable, even lovable... colors grow rich and resplendent, almost as if the artist, laying aside his crusader's arms for a moment, were relaxing in the light of the sun and letting it flood into his work" (Lionello Venturi, Rouault, Lausanne, 1959, pp. 21 & 51).

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